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It’s been the Holy Grail for UK fisheries for ages – finding a way to remove the tiny bones found in whole raw mackerel which is one of the most nutritious fish to eat.

Now Scottish fish supplier Nor Sea Foods Ltd has done just that, thanks to a state-of-the-art ‘pin boning’ machine.

The new boneless mackerel is going on sale exclusively at Tesco stores across Britain – and that should be great news to the large number of shoppers who make it one of the most popular food fish species.

Tesco fish buyer Christarose Maphosa said: “This achievement by Nor Sea Foods Ltd is a massive breakthrough in terms of making one of the most nutritious of all fish varieties more attractive to shoppers.

“We know that some people aren’t confident about preparing or eating certain fish because of the bones, so the launch of these boneless mackerel fillets is a real game-changer.” 

Nor Sea Foods Ltd, a family run business based in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, has supplied Tesco with UK wild caught, oil-rich mackerel and herring for more than 30 years.

The business is situated in the heart of the UK’s North Atlantic mackerel sector, close to the rich fishing grounds around the coast of Scotland where the fleet operates.

The company doesn’t want to reveal too much about the new pin boning machine because the information is a closely-guarded trade secret.

Nor Sea Foods Ltd Group Sales and Marketing manager Philip Andrade said: “Boneless natural mackerel hasn’t been available in shops until now because it is not an easy thing to achieve. 

“Mackerel fillets are relatively small and the tiny bones run right down the centre of the fish – removing them by hand is a very slow, costly process and there has not been a viable way to do it mechanically until now.

“Nor Sea Foods Ltd has partnered closely with experts over the last few years to find a solution that has allowed us to offer Tesco this first to market opportunity.” 

Both Nor Sea and Tesco believe that this new boneless option could encourage more people to include this healthy variety of fish in their diets.

Tesco nutritionist Laura Farrell added: “Mackerel is an oily fish. Generally we are recommended to consume two portions of fish each week and one of these portions should be oily fish. The UK adult population (19-64 years) on average only consumes 56g per week oily fish – so well under one portion per week.” 

Tesco ‘2 Boneless Mackerel Fillets’ launch this week in more than 800 stores across the UK. They will cost £2.25 for a pack of two. 

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